Kyrgios warned he is jeopardising career
Mark Philippoussis, the former Wimbledon finalist, said last night he was tired of Nick Kyrgios’s “bulls---” – and John Mcenroe warned the 23-year-old would have no future in tennis unless he changed his ways.
Having been defeated in the second round of the Brisbane International, which dumped him out of the world’s top 50 for the first time in four years, Kyrgios suggested on Twitter that Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt had stopped attending his matches.
Kyrgios wrote: “He has what some call abandon [sic] us.” Kyrgios deleted the tweet and claimed it was a joke once the backlash ensued. But it was too late.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Philippoussis, another talented Australian of Greek extraction, said he was sick of Kyrgios’s “bulls---”. Mcenroe, a fan but frequent critic, added that unless Kyrgios changed his attitude, “he’s not going to be in tennis in a couple of years”.
Five years ago, Kyrgios announced himself with a stunning win over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon. A run to the Australian Open last eight in 2015 received praise from Andy Murray after their quarter-final. Murray then added a note of caution: “He’ll make some mistakes. Growing up in the spotlight isn’t easy.”
Within seven months, Kyrgios exited Wimbledon after appearing to “tank” against Richard Gasquet, and was condemned for crudely sledging Stan Wawrinka about his girlfriend, Donna Vekic, during a match in Montreal.
There have been highs since – cracking the world’s top 15, a first Masters final, four ATP titles – but also countless controversies. On the flip side is that, away from the court, Kyrgios is acknowledged as a decent human being, with his charitable foundation for underprivileged children earning acclaim.
Philippoussis offered a different perspective on why Kyrgios is struggling. “People go on about how talented Nick is but he’s terrified to show that he’s trying because if he loses then it’s because he wasn’t good enough,” he said.
“Whenever he loses, everyone goes on Instagram and says: ‘Dude, if you only tried you’d be that good.’ That’s a complete bulls--- cop out.
“There’s no other sport where you lose as much as tennis. There’s nothing wrong with losing matches but Nick’s just not going to get through that. That’s the difference.”
Talented: Nick Kyrgios before an exhibition victory over Rafael Nadal this week